Hundreds line streets for Safe Trick-or-Treat

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 28, 2003

She didn't want to be a chicken, she didn't want to be a duck - she just wanted candy.

Six-year-old Shelby Dalton, a student at Rock Hill Elementary, chicken danced her way through the streets of Ironton Monday night during the city's Safe Trick-or-Treat. Her costume not only included a feathery chicken suit, but also featured a chicken coop float playing "The Chicken Dance" pulled by her parents.

Hundreds of chickens, princesses, ghosts and various other creatures of the night descended on downtown Ironton for the Ironton Business Association's annual Safe Trick-or-Treat. Twenty-one local businesses handed out candy to various goblins haunting them throughout the evening in an effort to provide children with a safe Halloween environment with safe candy. First-, second- and third-place prizes were handed out in five categories: Most Original, Ugliest, Ghosts, Witches and Most Patriotic.

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"Our turnout was about the same as last year, but we had better originality with the costumes," said IBA member Mark Compston, branch manager of A.G. Edwards.

Compston said he and others working with him gave out 280 of their 300 bags of candy. However, other businesses had even higher turnout. Mary Mills, an employee of Bentley Pharmacy, estimated that more than 800 children visited the store, causing them to run out of candy.

"It was bigger and better than usual," she said. "This is great for the kids, especially the little ones."

Mills was also a judge for the costume competition following the Halloween parade through downtown. After 8 to 10 years of judging, she said this year's costumes were much better than usual.

While many other grandmothers pay more attention to presents, lights and trees Linda Mulkey's favorite holiday is a spooky one, and she has passed this love through generations. She began making crazy costumes for her younger brother, then went all out when making her son David's costumes, which included a vampire costume complete with coffin.

This year, David constructed floats for his stepson, stepdaughter and daughter. His daughter and stepdaughter both won first-place awards.

Linda Mulkey's young stepgrandson, Michael Shope, had a Great Pumpkin Float as well, but someone dressed as Jason from "Friday the 13th" scared him so badly that he did not want to be in the parade.

"The Great Pumpkin didn't come out tonight, and Charlie Brown's looking for him," Linda Mulkey said.

Ironton Lion's Club president Tom Lawless was pleased with the turnout and the overall creativity of the costumes, and hoped that the underlying message of the Safe Trick-or-Treat resonated with the candy gathering participants.

"It's good that kids come out and participate in a safe environment that's well-organized and well-patrolled," he said. "We've had good participation from downtown merchants. Civic organizations make Ironton shine, but it takes a lot of work. And everyone needs to be working, not a few."